Monday, September 22, 2008

You want me to sleep Where???

The date on both the entries tells me it’s been two weeks since I, and I quote, “revved up this journal.”  Yet, it seems like only a few days.  Life is being lived at warp speed compared to just a few months ago.  Just this morning Paulette told me before she left for work that we had been getting, “too old too fast,” and that this was God’s way of bringing us back to a more active and youthful lifestyle.   Yawn… personally, I’m ready for a nap, LOL!

Some might suggest that the title for this journal be changed from “Dock Lines…” to “The Trenton Chronicles.”  When I think about why I started this journal originally, that would suit me just fine.  However, in a more philosophical look at “the bigger picture,” I realize that no matter what the title, I have chosen to write about my life and this is a chapter that, though unexpected, I admit I am looking forward to write.  I’m thrilled to have the little guy around for the full year and to be a close part of his life in these formative years.

His first week at school found Trenton bringing home a plethora of information about the coming school year including events and activities.  Amongst the info was a pamphlet on the local Cub Scout Pack.  I ended up taking him to the general sign up meeting two weeks ago and last Thursday Night we went to the first Pack Meeting.  This Thursday night will be the first Den Meeting.  By now you get the picture, Cub Scout meetings from now on every Thursday night.  It’s not like the Boy Scouts where you drop them off and pick them up later.  No, a parent or guardian must stay with the child during the meeting times and also must accompany the child on any camping trips that are scheduled.


I went through scouting as I grew up and loved the program.  Now it is different in many ways.  When I was in Cub Scouts it was run by mothers.  We had Den Mothers and your parents did not stay for the meetings, but dropped you off.  There wasn’t a Den Mother to be found at our first Pack Meeting.  Nope, the men have taken over Cub Scout leadership. 

To get the kids fired up about the coming year, the scout leaders were constantly touting how much fun the kids were going to have on the scout camping trips through the year.  I started camping when I was eight years old with my family as we toured Europe.  Dad was stationed in France and every break we got from school just about was spent visiting another country in Europe.  We found that camping grounds were clean and friendly and heavy on the amenities throughout Europe in those days.  They were far cheaper than hotels and camping afforded us the opportunity of meeting some really great families at the camp grounds.

I enjoyed camping in Florida as an adult.  My best friend Ken and I outfitted ourselves with all the necessary gear and camped on all the barrier islands we could in the Tampa Bay area.  We would set up camp sites anyone would be envious of and spend entire weekends on the islands leaving only to fish or scuba dive.

These days, my idea of camping out summons up a vision of a quaint A-Frame Chalet in the mountains with a log fire going in the huge fireplace, retiring to a bed filled with eiderdown, and eating out at the local restaurants.  Imagine my surprise to find myself in the camping aisle at Walmart shopping for a tent and air mattresses.


Scouting is not cheap.  My mother used to tell me this as a child and I had no idea of what she was speaking about.  Well, brother, let me tell you, I do now!  Just the scout shirt Trenton needs is over thirty dollars.  There are about a gazillion patches and numbers and insignias and each one brings a dear price.  Then there’s the neckerchief and the neckerchief clasp or holder, whatever it’s called.  They have two part pants now.  You unzip them and they are shorts for the summer and zipped up are long pants for the winter.  One must rob Ft. Knox to own a pair.  Oh, and don’t forget the books, they are a MUST!

Paulette bought him the book with what remains of her pay check and I bought half of the camping gear with what I had left over from my pay check.  Next pay day I’ll get sleeping bags and whatever we lack as far as flashlights or lanterns are concerned.  I’ve been told that at these campouts we will eat in a communal fashion and the food will be cooked at the Boy Scout Camp cafeteria.  Thank goodness!  I’d hate to be buying propane stoves and camp tables as well.  Oh, Paulette will start assembling the uniform with HER next pay check.  Disposable income is a thing of the past in THIS household!


Trenton is having a blast with the other kids in the barely controlled chaos they call meetings.  He can’t stop talking about the first planned campout of the year, The Haunted Trail Camp Out scheduled for October 31st.  The kids are supposed to bring their Halloween costumes and will go through what I’ve been told is the most complete and elaborate and scary Haunted House the scout masters have ever seen.

So voila… I’m now a Cub Scout again.  Let’s all say the pledge together.  “I promise to do my duty, to God and my county, to help other people, and to obey the laws of the pack!” 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Summertime, and the living is EASY???

Hello again, my friends.  Summer is over and it’s time to either shut this journal down or rev it up again.  I’ve decided to rev it up again.  This may turn out to be my only link to a semblance of sanity for the coming winter.  I’ll explain that statement in a little while.

I’m not going to recount the entire summer in one entry.  I’ll touch on the high points and then revisit some of them in subsequent entries in more detail.  We did get to Disney World and had a great time.  I did go to my Sister’s birthday party just outside of New Orleans in Slidell, Louisiana.   They finally completed rebuilding their home three years after Katrina and had moved back in.  What a great job they did with the place.  It looked beautiful.  I got out of Slidell a few days before Gustav took aim on the area and Jan and Dave had to evacuate once again.  This time the damage was so slight it’s not worth mentioning.  I’m glad; no one realizes how stressful that whole process has to be for the ones who went through Katrina.  Glad you guys made it through okay this time, Jan!

I put a lot of energy into this summer.  As most of you know we had Trenton, my nine year old grandson, stay with us for the summer.  So, out came the bicycles, we joined the community pool, and we took him to Disney World, MGM Studios, and Universal Studios Theme Park.



I had been worried about Trenton learning how to swim as the summer began.  It turns out he learned how to swim like a fish and was diving off the high dive in short order.  Before the summer was through, he could do flips off the diving board.  They even asked him to join the swimming team.  So, mission accomplished … Trenton learned how to swim.



When the summer was over, I was feeling pretty good.  We got through it in one piece, although I gained all my weight back.  Trenton left us to return to Michigan with a ton of lifetime type memories and quite a haul of toys and videos we spoiled him with.  Time to lay back and recoup … you know, return to the peaceful routine we have all grown accustom to in this household.

Then it came time for me to fly to my sister’s in Slidell.  It was less than ten days since Trenton had left.  My flight was very inexpensive, but was at an unbelievably early hour in the morning.  I was to get up at Three Thirty A.M. to get ready.  The phone rang at Three A.M. that morning.  Not good!

Trace, Trenton’s father in Michigan, had been missing for over twenty four hours.  It was his fiancĂ© letting us know that she had reported him to the police as a missing person and that Trenton had been left alone in the house for the duration with no adult supervision.  I had to really think about whether to get on that plane that morning or stay with a badly shaken Paulette.  She insisted I get on the plane.

Much later that day riding from the airport to my sister’s house, I learned Trace had finally turned up.  He claims it was a gambling jag at a casino, but we will never know if drugs were also involved.  Paulette was going to call me again when she had more information.

To make a long story short, DEFAX, (family services), in Michigan began searching for Trenton and were going to place him in a foster care situation until they could evaluate whether to let him live with his father again or not.  Paulette used the emergency credit card and that Sunday morning, while I was still in Slidell, Trenton arrived back in Savannah.

Georgia recently enacted a Grandparent’s Emergency Custody Act.  Because of this new act, we were able to cut through a lot of red tape and get him enrolled in fourth grade within a matter of a couple of days.  He has just completed the first full week of the school year and likes his teacher and the school.

During the summer Trenton slept on the couch in the Living Room because we had set up a big TV and DVD player in a wall unit in that room.  Now that he was going to be with us the entire school year, he would need his own room.  Immediately upon my arrival back in Savannah, I started shopping for a twin bed and changed around some wall units and moved the TV and DVD player and wall unit into what had been our computer room/office.  We moved furniture out and moved furniture in.  The net result is that Trenton has his own room now.   I’m exhausted.  We are all exhausted.  It is no accident that humans bear their children when they are young and have the energy for it.

But, we are a family and we take care of our own.  We come together in emergencies and provide what we must to get through it as a family. 

I now get up at 4:30 A.M. in order to get ready and not be tripping over both Paulette and Trenton as they prepare for their day at the time I USED to get up and get ready.  That means that I now fall asleep at night between 8:30 and 9:00PM.  Honest… it just doesn’t seem real, but that is what’s going on in my world.  Not complaining, mind you, just letting my friends and family catch up with this old Dock Master and the ever changing circumstances that life tosses my way.

I’m back, but making the rounds very slowly.  Bear with me; I haven’t turned any alerts back on yet.  I plan to do that gradually over the next couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, I’m getting used to a parenting role that is so unexpected, but so very necessary.  Paulette and I are exhausted at the end of every day now, but we are holding our own, hanging tight, and will make it through all of this. 

I send my thanks to all of my family in Louisiana that has been sending so much love and emotional support our way.  My thanks to all of you, my friends, for wading through this long post and for all the emotional support I know in advance you will lend.  That’s just the way J-Land is and I’m so very glad to be back with you all.